Marcel Proust 1992. In search of lost time. Volume 1. Swann’s Way. Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. Revised by D.J. Enright. New York: The Modern Library.

A stream, or rather a lake, of conciousness outside of time. Yet despite the long beautiful and precise sentences to me the endless swirling childhood neuroses often obscure Proust’s evident grander plan (of trying to step past the passage of time). Even if the neuroses are further to the fore than the author and most subsequent admirers would like to think, anyone must grant that the author knew his destination before first raising his quill.

These paragraphs seem central to Proust’s philosophy, or at least his ambition for the novel:

I feel that there is much to be said for the Celtic belief that the souls of those whom we have lost are held captive in some inferior being, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and thus effectively lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to pass by the tree or to obtain posession of the object which forms their prison … and as soon as we have recognised them the spell is broken. Delivered by us, they have overcome death and return to share our life.

And so it is with our past …

[~p. 47 of the most recent Penguin edition]

For all that, give me Patrick White, who can do all this without the 7 volume challenge, and with a narrative, or at least some events, thrown in for free. Proust takes pains to avoid any such trajectory; that is his whole point.